Trainspotting | 1996
- DIRECTOR |
- Danny Boyle
Although Danny Boyle’s high-speed whizz through Irvine Welsh’s cult novel is set in Edinburgh (there's a brief section filmed in Bayswater and West Kensington in London), like the team's previous Shallow Grave it was filmed – apart from a little scene-setting at the beginning – almost entirely in Glasgow, a city which offers film makers all the breaks.
The opening scene is the only glimpse of the real Edinburgh, with Renton (Ewan McGregor) and co raiding John Menzies Bookstore and legging it away down Princes Street. Times change and the bookstore is now a branch of clothing store Next, 107-109 Princes Street.
At the eastern end of Princes Street, it's down the steps from Leith Street to Calton Road, and the Calton Street Bridge, where Renton is hit by the car.
From here on it’s all Glasgow. The studio filming utilised a disused cigarette factory, which provides 30 of the film’s 50 locations. It was the premises of WD & HO Wills Tobacco (manufacturers of Woodbine, Capstan and Embassy brands) on Alexandra Parade, which has since been redeveloped to become the prestigious CityPark.
The down-at-heel pub where the American tourist gets done over, and everyone gathers after the trial, was the old Social Club of the factory.
The football match filmed at the Firrhill Health Complex, Hopehill Road, north from Maryhill Road, North Kelvin (underground: St Georges Cross). The park in which Renton and Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller) discuss the career of Sean Connery and shoot the dog’s behind is Rouken Glen Park, Rouken Glen Park Road, Thornliebank, south of the city centre on the line from Central Station. The park was also the site of the titular burial spot in Shallow Grave.
The cafe where Renton and Spud (Ewen Bremner) share a milkshake before speeding is Cafe d’Jaconelli, 570 Maryhill Road, in North Kelvin not far from the Firrhill Health Complex.
A little further up the road on the left is Queen Margaret Drive. A few minutes down the road you can find the galleried bar where Begbie (Robert Carlyle) entertains the crowd with his pool story and demonstrates how not to dispose of a beermug. It was Crosslands, now gussied up to become the Kelbourne Saint, 182 Queen Margaret Drive.
The nightclub where Renton meets ballsy schoolgirl Diane (Kelly MacDonald) was Volcano, 15 Benalder Street, close to Kelvinhall Station. You won’t be so lucky. The nightclub has since been demolished.
The railway station where Tommy tries vainly to whip up some enthusiasm for the Scottish countryside is on Rannoch Moor, at the northern tip of Loch Ossian up toward Fort William. The station is Corrour, on the West Highland Line between Glasgow and Mallaig. Although it’s a convenient starting point for hill-walkers, you should be aware that the station is not accessible by road.
Renton’s West London flat is 78A Talgarth Road at North End Road, opposite West Kensington tube station.
The Edinburgh boys might be expected to fetch up in King’s Cross when they find themselves with two kilos of skag to offload, but it’s amid the shabby anonymity of Bayswater, that they make a cool £16,000. Sick Boy leads the “small-time wasters with an accidental big deal” out of Smallbrook Mews across Craven Road, in a parody of the Beatles’ Abbey Road album cover, to the Royal Eagle Hotel, 26-30 Craven Road, Bayswater, where they meet dealer Keith Allen.
Empty and dilapidated at the time of filming, the five grand Victorian houses which make up the hotel have been totally renovated and spruced up into quite a classy establishment. You can stay there, but not in the drug deal room, which was filmed back in Glasgow, in what was the George Hotel, 235 Buchanan Street not far from Central Station. The hotel closed and the building has been gutted to become retail outlets.